Science and Technology Innovation Program

Events

The Environmental Impact of 3D Printing

December 13, 2013 // 9:00am11:00am
Event Co-sponsors: 
Environmental Change and Security Program
Webcast
Available
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3D printing allows for cheaper and quicker production of complex and novel items. The technology has been used by industry to build prototypes and specialized parts since the 1980s, but interest in desktop applications of the technology has increased in recent years as the price for the machines has dropped.

Proponents of the technology often cite the environmental benefits of 3D printing, though fundamental questions remain: What technologies are involved in 3D printing? How efficient are these technologies in the use of materials and energy? Does the design of printed objects reduce end-of-life options? Does more localized production reduce the carbon footprint? Will simplicity and ubiquity cause us to overprint things, just as we do with paper?

Robert L. Olson explored some of these questions in his article “3D Printing: A Boon or a Bane?” in the November/December 2013 issue of the Environmental Forum. The article discusses the enormous potential of 3D printing and examines the paucity of research on the environmental impacts of the technology.

This event is being consponsored by the Environmental Law Institute, publisher of the Environmental Forum, and the Wilson Center's Environmental Change & Security Program.

Location: 
5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
 
Event Speakers List: 
  • Senior Fellow, Institute for Alternative Futures
  • David Rejeski // Director, Science and Technology Innovation Program
  • Senior Attorney & Director of the State Center, Environmental Law Institute
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